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Thread: Observations From The Learning Curve

  1. #11
    Getting the hang of it

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    Thanks for the comment about the journal, it was a thread on here that got me to do it finally as I had wanted to for awhile.

    One thing I kind of struggled with a little bit this year was balancing over pressuring one spot, but then being reluctant to go to another for property for lack of time spent there. In the late season I went to where I had the most sightings throughout the season and hunted that same spot about 8 times in a row. It could have paid off, but in the end it did not. I think when you have more than one property to hunt you really have to put your time in scouting.

    With regards to the bait. I am torn on whether to believe it encourages daytime feeding, or whether it gives the deer reason to stay nocturnal. Interested to hear others thoughts on this...

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  3. #12
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    Fantastic thread.

    This year I lost a gem of a hunting spot so my deer hunting was restricted to WMU 90 & 92. This year was my best season to date for sightings per hunter hour and I think in my area the deer population is the highest it has been since the provincial population peak in the early 2000's. I passed more deer this year than any other. It is hard for me to go for a hike these days without spotting deer (I hike a lot of public land) and the sign has been astronomical.

    Aside from very healthy deer numbers, cropping played a huge role in my season at my favorite location. A large number of alfalfa fields were sprayed off in the area this fall and the deer that were used to feeding on alfalfa migrated to the remaining stand, which I had permission to hunt. Weather also played in as the early start to winter pushed deer into wintering grounds early on, making those locations prime with uneducated deer in unfamiliar surroundings.

    I personally harvested 3 during the early controlled hunt. This left me tagless for much of the bow season, inviting friends into my favourite spots and joining other friends for party hunts in their spots. Putting friends on deer brings a satisfaction of its own.

    The only downfall this season is the continued lack of tags. I hiked a property where I have sole permission on the weekend, and spotted 30+ beds in a single location (in a bush that normally does not see yarding behavior). I did not take a deer there this year and the farmer is not pleased with the deer pressure. With populations so high, it is disappointing to see that MNRF will not issue additional seals. Like many bowhunters, I like to hold on to my tag for a nice buck and am not afraid of holding out until "tag soup" at the end of the season. With additional seals, many of us will put that "freezer doe" under our belt early on and contribute to population management instead of just sitting on our tag for the season.

    Like I said, this is a great thread. It is nice to see other folks putting a lot of thought (and data collection!) into their hunt. Another way I like to analyze my season is through trail camera data. I stockpile images all year long and in January I enter everything into a spreadsheet. I look at several metrics including deer pics per camera day, antlered to antlerless ratio for the antlered period, coyotes per camera day as well as unique buck and trespass statistics. I know I've got a high number of unique buck sightings this year, but I haven't crunched the annual numbers yet to see how my sightings stack up against previous years. Cameras are a great way to get data that isn't influenced by the factors that are associated with you being in the deer stand (daylight hours, scent contamination, weather, etc.).

  4. #13
    Leads by example

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    It was a tough year for me. I sat our 20 times, usually half a day or less. I hunt 82a and 80. I did hunt the controlled hunt in 80 and the rifle hunt in 82a as well as the bow season in both. In 82a I heard coyotes (sometimes 3 different packs) almost every night. I'm on public land in 82a and I didn't see a deer. Cameras showed all nocturnal movement during the months of Nov and Dec in 82a.

    In 80 I baited heavily and I had great coon activity followed by coyotes trying to nail the coons(?). The camera showed the coons disappearing up the trees and the coyotes showing up. Don't think coyotes would tackle a coon but it happened nightly. Coyotes eat corn? Got one large buck on my camera at night. I did see a doe during the bow hunt but she would never visit the bait. I think the bait spooked her but I have shot deer other years heading for the corn pile. Maybe the coons and coyotes put her off.

    Certainly in the areas I hunt the deer haven't fully recovered. I didn't see any yearlings with does on my cameras or while hunting.

  5. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ride.lift.shoot View Post
    Thanks for the comment abiout the journal, it was a thread on here that got me to do it finally as I had wanted to for awhile.

    One thing I kind of struggled with a little bit this year was balancing over pressuring one spot, but then being reluctant to go to another for property for lack of time spent there. In the late season I went to where I had the most sightings throughout the season and hunted that same spot about 8 times in a row. It could have paid off, but in the end it did not. I think when you have more than one property to hunt you really have to put your time in scouting.

    With regards to the bait. I am torn on whether to believe it encourages daytime feeding, or whether it gives the deer reason to stay nocturnal. Interested to hear others thoughts on this...
    Good point. I more meant if I attract more deer, chances are more likely one will slip up during the day and I’ll shoot anythong i have a tag for.
    But ya maybe it’ll push them more nocturnal. Also curious on others takes on this...
    My name is BOWJ..... and I am a waterfowl addict!

  6. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowj View Post
    Good point. I more meant if I attract more deer, chances are more likely one will slip up during the day and I’ll shoot anythong i have a tag for.
    But ya maybe it’ll push them more nocturnal. Also curious on others takes on this...
    I don't think bait presence has any affect on daytime vs. nighttime movement. Certainly human presence can. The same rules apply to baiting as to hunting. Clean in, clean out is important. If you can get to your bait sites without bumping or alerting deer, and leave no scent behind, you can bait all you like without affecting deer behaviour. Accessing sites via quad or vehicle is a great way to reduce human scent and reduce the likelihood that deer will associate the bait site with a predator (you) and get cagey about approaching it in the daytime.

    Similarly, when deciding on how frequently you can hit a stand, you need to consider the same factors. My favourite stand is 25 feet up on the edge of a valley. The prevailing winds take scent out over the valley (particularly in mornings when air is rising) and if deer do smell me they are way off and can't pinpoint my location. I can get in an out via a field edge without being seen or heard from bedding locations, and the height means so far I haven't been spotted. I can hunt this stand a lot and get away with it, as long as I'm not bumping feeding deer on my way in or out. Another stand I have is a large 2-man ladder stand that is only 15 feet high. The big bulky stand is very visible and low to the ground, in a location where if deer approach from downwind they bust me. I can't hunt this stand nearly as often without educating deer.

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